Check out my interview with Whitney...
Whitney: Hey Chanel!
Me: Hey Whitney, how are you?
Whitney: I'm good, how are you?
Me: I'm good too! Well Whitney, when I was watching your last episode, I was watching your face and you seemed to kinda know that it was your time to go, did you? Or was I reading that all wrong?
Whitney: It was more of a disappointment reaction because I honestly didn't think when I went into elimination that I was gonna be in the bottom 2 let alone leave. So when I was in the bottom 2, it was kinda like, not again, are you serious? So that's really what my reaction was.
Me: Ok, let's talk about you being "plus size" because what size are you exactly?
Whitney: I wear an 8.
Me: Okay Whitney, since when is a size 8 plus size?
Whitney: I know! I always teeter between an 8 and a 10, so when I went on the show, I kind of wanted to make a statement about being average sized. And I knew that I wasn't 110 lbs. and 5 foot 10, but when I went on the show I was 175 lbs. and 5 foot 10. I carry my weight really, really well. I'm an athlete and I've always been really into fitness, so I'm secure about my body, and I just wanted to go on the show and make a statement that a girl who is 5 foot 10 and weighs 175 lbs. could look awesome in a bikini and could be sexy while still considered plus sized.
Me: So what is the actual sample size then if a size 8 is plus size?
Whitney: Technically plus sized is a size 10-12, or 10 and above. And some agencies accept size 8, but sample sizes are usually anywhere between size 2 and size 8, but most times between size 2 and size 6.
Me: Okay then, because I just could not wrap my mind around a size 8 being plus sized.
Whitney: I know! Well everytime people see me, they're like, "They consider YOU plus-sized?" It's ok though because I'm really confident about my body and that's just one thing that I wanted to make sure that I stressed the entire time that I was on the show, is just embracing yourself and embracing your body. I think there's a lot of negative scrutiny attached to the whole idea of being a plus sized model because people automatically assume that you're fat. And that's the common misconception. Plus sized models are not fat! They're proportioned and I guarantee if you see Diana and you see her hips, you'd be like, dang girl! You have got an awesome body! And then if you see me, you'd be like, "Wow! They call you a plus sized model?!" It's just how you carry yourself, and it's all about being confident and embracing your body.
Me: So you weren't surprised once you were selected and they labeled you plus-sized?
Whitney: No, not at all. I went into it wanting to be called a plus sized model.
Me: Was the competition much harder than it looked? Because the judges kept stressing the fact that you were a pretty girl, but it wasn't coming across in your pictures.
Whitney: I think definitely, you have to remember that America's Next Top Model is a reality television show, and you have to realize that the extremity of the photo shoots aren't realistic. So they always wanted you to go on set, I always say, acting like a goon. They wanted you to be really cooky, and really goofy and show all of your personality on set, and not really be as professional as a regular model in the modeling industry would be. So I always went on set trying to be as beautiful and "model-y" as I could. And I think there was added pressure on me, there was added pressure on Jael and Diana as well to always show as much personality as possible on set because that's what got us on the show and that's what kept us on the show. So when I would go on set and be professional and just try to do my job, the judges would be like, "Where's all your personality? You go flat when you step on set." So I think I was torn and I couldn't find a balance between acting like a goon on set and then modeling and taking beautiful pictures at the same time. Because I guarantee you if you see my pre-ANTM portfolio and my portfolio while I was on ANTM, they're two totally different things. Usually, when you go to a photo shoot, you're professional, you do the job that needs to be done and then you bounce. But not on ANTM, I mean, it's a reality television show, and I just think that I had difficulty finding that balance.
Me: You did win the "laser-beam-posing" challenge and you scored a nice piece of jewelry when you won... how much was that bracelet worth again?
Me: Wow. Do you wear it everyday or...
Whitney: Absolutely not! I'm not about to wear a "car" on my wrist everyday!
Me: So just for special occasions then.
Me: So where do you store it? Is it in a safe or something?
Whitney: Exactly, it's in a safe. Nobody touches it!
Me: Well you also would have won that "window-display-group" challenge, but you guys were disqualified because you weren't in the right spot. Do you regret not listening to Natasha?
Whitney: Well you know what? I didn't even hear Natasha, so I think that came across really bad on television, because I didn't hear her and if she said anything, it was after they had told us that time was up, because we weren't saying anything after we sat down. So I really didn't hear her and I definitely think they made it look like I was just ignoring Natasha because I thought she was dumb and didn't know anything. Totally not the truth. But I did let my group down and we did get disqualified as a group, but I would have won the individual challenge. So I was really letting myself down! So, yeah, if I had heard Natasha, I promise you I would have gotten onto that podium.
Me: On the last acting challenge, you didn't win that one either, but the actor from "Napoleon Dynamite", I forget his name...
Whitney: Efren Ramirez.
Me: Yeah, him, he was still very impressed with you. Do you feel that acting comes a bit more naturally to you?
Whitney: Yeah, it totally comes naturally, and acting is a passion that I discovered my first or second year in college and I never knew I had the talent. It's something that I just LOVE to do! I love the entire art of it, and I love being able to adopt a character and act out a character that's totally opposite from myself. I just love it! And it's definitely something that I totally want to explore, because my entire life I've always had this loud booming voice, and I always make sure that I speak as eloquently and as clearly as possible, and I just love to talk! So I definitely want to act and pursue that as well.
Me: Well how would you rate Top Model on your list of "life experiences"? Would you do it again?
Whitney: Oh yeah! Definitely! It was like a 9.5! I mean, it's a once in a lifetime opportunity! I left school my senior year to go and be on Top Model, and there aren't many girls in America who can say that they've been on America's Next Top Model. So I definitely thought that it was totally different and that it was "pushing the envelope" and kids at my school don't really do stuff like that, so I just wanted to go for it! Because, I think that when you are in school, you're always soul-searching and you're never really quite sure what you wanna do. Like I was battling with going to law school and being a lawyer and just knowing that that wasn't really what I wanted to do. And I knew deep down in my heart that I wanted to be a model, and an actress and in the public eye as a representation of an average woman who could be sexy, who could be smart, and who could just serve as a role model for all the little girls who have to look at Kate Moss every single day, you know? I just think that you need role models like that. I look up to Tyra Banks, I look up to Jennifer Hudson, I look up to Angela Bassett, I love those women. They are, for me the essence of polish, the essence of just being yourself and embracing that.
Me: Well, I'm so glad that you had the courage to realize that you wanted to go after and follow something that you really wanted to do, it can be scary for most people.
Whitney: Yeah, no doubt. Because, you know, I could easily "flock" but the thing that gave me a lot more leeway, is that I could always go back to school (Me: Exactly, and you're young...) Right, and I'm graduating from a really good college, so finding a job wouldn't be that big of an issue. And when I was wavering and deciding what I was going to do with my life, I was like, "look, you gotta follow your dreams" and my dad was really supportive of that. But my mom, was like, "Uh-uh girl, you're going to law school!" But overall, I had a good support system.
Me: You've had a pretty stellar academic career, where were you in school again?
Whitney: I'm currently a senior at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire.
Me: And didn't you play sports too as well?
Whitney: Yeah, I played women's basketball.
Me: Well, I don't know if you've been asked this already, but it seems like a natural fit to ask. What are your thoughts on the Don Imus and the Rutgers female basketball team situation, being that you yourself were a female student athlete?
Whitney: Well we actually played Rutgers last year in the NCAA Division 1 Finals, so I've heard a lot about the team. I wasn't on the team at that point because I left at the beginning of my Junior year. But I do know of the girls and my teammates have told me a lot about the girls, and just as a former women's basketball player, I can say we get so scrutinized over being female athletes. Especially basketball, because they look at female basketball players and expect them to be "hard" and "butch" and "manly" and not act like women, but it's already hard as as a female athlete, and for Imus to say something like that and not give credit where credit is due, is really an unfortunate situation because those girls have overcome a lot. I don't know if you follow women's basketball, but they struggled a lot in the beginning of the season. They almost lost to us! An Ivy league team last year in the first round of the NCAA, so they have come a long, long way! So you HAVE to give credit where it's due. My mother is a Rutger's grad, so obviously I have ties to that school too. But kudos to those girls and it's just unfortunate that they weren't given the time to bask in their success for making it to the finals, because they've had to deal with all this negative media attention, but they really should give them some kind of congratulatory party because they've dealt with so much, and I do personally want to congratulate them because they are an awesome group of girls.
Me: I'm sure they'd love to hear from you.
Whitney: Yeah! And I'd love to talk to them!
Me: Ok, well back to Top Model, I know that you and Diana had gotten really tight during the competition, and she told me when I spoke with her a couple weeks ago that she wanted to see you go all the way. So now that neither of you are no longer in the competition, who do you want to see win it all?
Whitney: If I had to pick two girls, I'd say either Dionne or Jaslene. Dionne because I've seen her blossom so much from the beginning of the competition until now, and I'm just looking forward to seeing her continue on with so much class and poise. I really enjoyed watching and just being around Dionne because she was such a quiet girl, and she just opened up while she was on the show. And I'd like to see Jaslene win, because some girls wanna grow up and be doctor's, some girls wanna grow up and be lawyers, Jaslene wants to be "America's Next Top Model!" So I wish her the absolute best, because it's probably a lifelong dream of hers to be a model, and she just wants it! So I just wish both of them the best of luck.
Me: Well what does the future hold for Whitney, what are some your plans?
Whitney: I have to graduate in June, so once I walk across the stage, I'm gonna move to New York to continue to pursue modeling.
Me: That's great! Well Whitney, I sure hate that you didn't make it farther, but I'm sure you'll be successful at whatever you put your mind to! Thanks so much for talking to me!
Whitney: No problem and thank you!